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Helen’s views of her “Tuscany Trails 2016” experience…

  • Accommodation…..  “a stunning setting with beautiful views, fantastic food, warm welcoming hosts and really lovely and comfortable rooms”
  • Walking Routes…. “Pleasingly varied, extremely interesting and pleasantly challenging. Each day was different – one day crunching through chestnut woods and across vineyards, another high up on a rocky mountain, another passing through mountain meadows with the occasional cow looking on…..”
  • Leader…. “well organised and prepared. Very knowledgable about the area where we stayed and where we walked (and the different varieties of grappa available at our accommodation!).😂. Fun, friendly and entertaining. Nothing was too much trouble.” 
  • Itinerary…. “very well thought through itinerary. Everything well organised. Plenty of variety throughout the week and a real treat in the middle of our stay to have a day to visit a beautiful city. Thoroughly enjoyed our evenings out as well as the home made suppers that we had back at the accommodation with our hosts. Our ritual coffee/gelato stops after our walks also definitely went down a treat! “

Highly recommended. Helen Evans – October 2016[/expand]

“Steve was my College Tutor whilst I was on the BTEC National Diploma in Outdoor Adventure. From Day 1, I knew the 2-year course the right choice. Tom Coombe – January 2015

Steve is extremely knowledgeable and passionate for the Outdoors; he inspired me to pursue a career within the industry as a professional instructor, and that is what I have done. Five years on and I asked Steve for a reference for another Instructor post I am applying for; and without a second thought it’s done. Thank you very much Steve and I hope to see you on the hill soon. Tom Coombe – January 2015

Summer 2014, the wrong side of 50, overweight, poor health and constantly tired so I decided, with my sister in law’s encouragement, to try Nordic Walking. Gill C – April 2015

My first attempt was an hour in Lydiard Park with Steve Ellis of Gemini Outdoors and about half a dozen other convivial, friendly walkers on a Wednesday evening in July.

Steve is an amazingly patient teacher – it might look easy but getting the right technique with the poles takes practice (I’m still practicing). It’s a bit like being on a cross trainer but more fun.
At the end of the first hour I was a sweating wreck but I felt invigorated and so pleased that I had taken my first steps towards better health and fitness. I went the next week, and the next…. Wednesday evening couldn’t come around soon enough. 
On the fourth occasion Steve mentioned the Nordic Walking Challenge in November.
The beauty of the event is that you challenge yourself. You don’t have to race anyone, although you can if you want to.
I find Steve quite inspirational and as he was organising it and had helped me so much I wanted to reciprocate and support his event. I said I would do the 5k challenge. He encouraged me to try for 10k and I found myself agreeing! I drove home wondering what on earth I had let myself in for.

The Challenge Day arrived. It was really well organised – slick and professional. Before I even started walking I was surprised to bump into three people I knew from different parts of my life who, before the day,
I had not known they did Nordic Walking. It’s like a friendly fitness Mafia!

After a fun filled ten minute official warm up and wearing my personal time piece which was linked to the official timer I set out with the last group of 10k walkers. Within five minutes I was on my own. Everyone else, fitter and more experienced had cleared off but I was not disheartened. I was doing this for myself and to show my two very fit daughters that there was still life in their ageing mother!

The second 5k lap was really tough but all the Marshalls were so encouraging along with the Nordic walkers from the other distance groups who were lapping me! It started to rain at one point which was a welcome relief as I was so hot despite it being November.

At the finish I was last (well someone has to be) but euphoric that I had achieved my goal. I was also really chuffed to receive my “split” time, just like in the Olympics, which showed that I had managed to keep up the same pace throughout the course. I could have done without the official photographer and his camera although I was so wrecked I reckoned no one would recognise me!

When I got home at lunchtime, after a shower and something to eat, I fell into bed and stayed there until the next morning – to say I was worn out is an understatement but it was worth it for the amazing sense of achievement I felt.

Since then I have continued to walk with Steve’s groups in Malmesbury, joined a full day coaching session to improve my technique and walked most weeks with one of the friends I bumped into on the day of the Challenge. Nordic walking is fun, sociable and a million times more enjoyable than going to the gym. I feel fitter, healthier and happier since first planting my poles.”

“Thank you for a great day with good company, and developing understanding of the principles of Nordic walking.” Susie – Introduction to Nordic Walking Course – Jan 2015

Thank you Steve. We both had a great day and I think you may have converted Clive!” Gill – Introduction to Nordic Walking Course – Jan 2015

“Steve’s approach to Nordic Walking has provided the perfect catalyst to getting fit again, and enjoying the process. 

“His methods are motivational, fun and functional – I found myself feeling fitter for life generally, and for the first time in ages my body started changing shape – for the better.  The stale air of the gym seems stifling compared with the rush from being outdoors, hopping over logs and powering up grassy hills in Nature’s Gym.  The opportunity to meet and chat with like-minded people on the group walks has also helped the process.  However it would be hard to replicate the effect just walking with friends – whilst not a drill sergeant, Steve will certainly get you to go the extra mile. “Nordic walking itself has been one of the best forms of exercise I have ever found – it does what it says on the tin as it were.  I used to look upon walkers with poles in the UK with bafflement – its incredible that holding two sticks can make such a difference.  After just 2 months my husband noted my posture was better, particularly the ‘hunched over the laptop shoulders’.  It works.” Julie – Aug 2013

“Steve is one of the most forward thinking and creative people I have had the pleasure to work alongside in the outdoors.

His attention to safety and client care is second to none and his ability to communicate on all levels is fantastic. He brings fun and enthusiasm to any group he works with and always strives for excellence in every situation.” Gary Daines, International Mountain Leader, Big Smiles Adventure

“I hate exercise but I LOVE Nordic Walking! It’s the only form of exercise that I have ever stuck to (3 years now) and I put that down to two things:

1. Steve and the group that go walking are great company so it doesn’t really feel like exercise and 2. We get to go out and walk in THE most beautiful countryside (which is a lot better than looking at myself getting red and sweaty in a mirror at a gym!). My fitness level has increased dramatically since I started walking AND I’ve lost a stone and a half. I can’t recommend Steve and Gemini Nordic Walking highly enough so pull on your walking shoes and come join us. You won’t regret it!” Carol Burns, Swindon – Aug 2013. 
“The flyer for the Nordic Walking introductory course immediately caught my eye. This was something I could do, it was in the great outdoors (I never was a gym rat) and showed a friendly group of ordinary people – like me – with not a scrap of lycra in sight. 
Surely this was a way of converting my Wish List (get fit, lose weight, invest in a healthier future) to a To Do list in an enjoyable, sociable way? Nordic Walking has done just that – and the key to this success is the competence, experience and sheer enthusiasm that Steve has for all things outdoors whether its short fitness sessions or day long excursions across the Downs or into the Welsh hills. “Steve is able to accommodate the fitness level of everyone attending, producing varied sessions which are structured, well lead and demanding. More recently, upcoming events such as a family wedding and applying for an overseas project caused me to redefine my goals and I turned to Steve for personal training to achieve a trimmer figure and the ‘robust good health’ required. Like the Nordic Walking, the personal training takes place outside, in the fresh air. Steve understands which aspects of an individual’s fitness need most work, and these sessions are tough – but he is a great motivator and I know that with his help I shall reach my goals. I would (and do!) thoroughly recommend Nordic Walking and Gemini Outdoor Adventure.” Barbara Robinson, Brinkworth, Wilts – July 2013.

“Steve has been working with me on improving my fitness levels since January 2012 (for once a New Years resolution was stuck to) through his Nordic Walking classes.

Despite myself and my history of non-exercise, these classes have been enjoyable, rigorous and challenging – to the point that six months later I’m still attending (longer than I ever managed at any gym) and still getting a great deal out of the exercise. 

Steve has been excellent at providing support, achievable targets and challenging goals – I look forward to continuing to work with him on maintaining my improved fitness level!” Chris Burns, EMEA Customs Manager at Intel Corporation – July 2012

“Steve really made a difference to my son’s understanding of the great outdoors, even I came away with map reading skills I thought I would previously never master – Great time, great guy, great fun.” Adele Thackray – North Wales

“Both my fiancé and I hate running, but know that aerobic exercise is the best way to loose the dreaded Christmas pounds.

We had an exceptionally fortunate meeting with Steve Ellis through some mutual friends, and next thing we knew we’d signed on to an introduction to Nordic walking weekend course…what can I say? Quite simply the best, funniest, easiest and enjoyable way to loose weight and enjoy the outdoors we’ve ever experienced. We really enjoyed learning how to ‘walk’ again, and were amazed at how many calories we were burning throughout the course of the day; alongside that we loved meeting like-minded fellow Nordic walkers and just generally having a brilliant time outdoors.
I would definitely recommend Steve’s Nordic walking to anyone who: enjoys the outdoors, wants to get fit and have a good giggle along the way.
The sessions that are run throughout the week really up the heart rate and Steve is fantastic at encouraging you to achieve your best. Overall, quite simply, we’re hooked!!” Sarah – Jan 2012
“I have had the pleasure of walking the hills with Steve over the years. Steve is extremely knowledgeable on a variety of subjects and the mountains are no different.
He is keen to share his experience for the benefit of others and he does this in an extremely professional and articulate manner. More importantly I felt safe under his leadership and instruction.” Richard Norris, Volunteering Programme Manager, BT

“I spent two years under Steve’s tuition, on the BTEC National Diploma in Outdoor Adventure, and can honestly say it was the best and most useful two years of my education.

Steve went out of his way to help me achieve top grades on the course, and outside the course by setting up plenty of opportunities, that lead to NGB accreditation, job placements,and some brilliant expeditions in Wales, Scotland and the Alps. Steve’s knowledge and love of the outdoors was evident in his lessons and leadership, he created a sense of safety, even in the worst of weather (a particularly wild winter trip up the usually placid Sugar Loaf mountain in the Black Mountains comes to mind!!!). I highly recommend Steve’s services as he will go out of his way to provide a professional, fun and educational experience in the Outdoors. Ben Ryle BTEC Outdoor Adventure 2009-11

Steve shared his time and expertise well with the whole group and didn’t make me feel an idiot for not understanding new things immediately. He also allowed us to make mistakes and learn from them in a safe environment. I also appreciated the suggested follow up reading material and suggested websites, and hope to return and complete Mountain Skills Course when I’m a little more experienced. Elizabeth – Hill Skills Course – Jan 2015

Colours of poles may vary from the photographs on the website.